How to get started on spring cleaning

Published 4:57 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

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Springtime has arrived, and with it comes warmer weather, beautiful blooming flowers, and a whole bunch of gross pollen. Even the “April showers” have not managed to wash the yellow coating away from everything yet.

It’s that pervasive pollen that got me thinking about something else associated with this time of year: spring cleaning.

Pollen isn’t a problem inside people’s homes, usually – but there was one time in college, however, when my roommate forgot she left the window cracked during spring break and we returned to an absolute mess. (Yikes!) But the urge to wash all the pollen away perfectly coincides with the urge to give your home a thorough cleaning now that the dreary darkness of winter is past.

At least, it feels that way to me. And I must not be alone since the phrase “spring cleaning” is thrown around a lot this time of year. I’ve already skimmed over a few headlines from various websites offering up tips on how to get started on a deep cleanse of your home (or anything else that needs a good cleaning, for that matter).

But, hey, who needs professional advice anyway? I’m an amateur cleaner and I’m sure I can provide some useful guidance instead. Or, well, some sort of guidance, at least. “Useful” is a relative term.

This week, let me offer you my own tips for spring cleaning. Here’s how to get the job done:

(Note: your results may vary!)

Step one: assess the situation.

It’s always a good idea to figure out what needs cleaning before you start. Some of this is easy because usually it’s not too hard to see which parts of the house have accumulated things which need to be put away. But this unfortunately means you may also have to acknowledge the cobwebs in the corner that you’ve been avoiding for months, and it means you may accidentally uncover something weird that’s been shoved to the back of your fridge and forgotten about. (Sidenote: remember to wear gloves when handling hazardous materials!)

I would caution people, however, not to get too caught up in this step that they start naming each little hidden dust-bunny they find. You’ll only make yourself feel bad when you sweep them away later.

Step two: start with the easy stuff

Why start with the arduous task of washing all the windows in your house? That takes so much time and effort, and my arms hurt just thinking about it. It’ll be much easier to start with tossing away a pile of junk you don’t need anymore, or organizing a messy drawer or cabinet.

You’ll feel accomplished getting those little tasks done and then you’ll feel motivated to keep going! Or maybe you’ll just be motivated to give yourself a treat for crossing something off your to-do list. That’s fine too.

Step three: acquire cleaning supplies

Some spring cleaning tasks – such as decluttering – require no special tools. But you may need additional help to get some things done. So take a trip to your local hardware store, and check out what they have to offer. You might need items such as a stepladder, heavy-duty carpet cleaner, batteries, garbage bags, stylish new storage containers you don’t actually have any room for in your house, and some sort of fancy mop that somehow requires a college degree to operate it.

Beware, however, that if you make a trip to the store while thinking about all sorts of home improvement projects, you may end up with more than you need! Shop at your own risk.

Step four: work on those once-a-year tasks

The difference between “spring cleaning” and just regular cleaning is that you have to go a bit above and beyond the usual tasks. This cleaning has got to be more than just vacuuming the floors and dusting around the knick-knacks.

You’ve got to thoroughly clean the baseboards. Wipe down the hard-to-reach light fixtures. Scrub your oven. Accidentally discover some cherished family heirloom (which may or may not be cursed) that has been lost for decades because it was shoved into a box at the back of a really crowded closet. Clean out the gutters. Flip your mattresses.

You know, the really important things that get overlooked the rest of the year.

Step five: procrastinate on cleaning by doing something else

Tired of cleaning already? It happens to be the perfect time of year to get your taxes done. Good luck to the last-minute procrastinators out there!

Step six: don’t try to do everything in one day

Unless you’re a robot, I doubt many people can do a full, thorough deep clean of their house in one day. (I certainly can’t!) So feel free to spread out the cleaning over multiple days or weeks even. Clean on your own schedule.

In fact, if you stretch it out long enough, it can become “summer cleaning” instead. (And summer cleaning sounds nice in theory, because I’m imagining that I can enjoy some nice refreshing lemonade in between cleaning tasks. Hm… maybe I’ll wait to clean my house a little bit later too…)

So those are my completely-not-professional tips! If you’re thinking about doing some spring cleaning, I hope these steps provide some direction on how to get going.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or 252-332-7206.